The Volkswagen Driver Search heads into its Final phase with an endurance race being the first of two segments set to decide which of Ryan Rhode or Jonathan Mogotsi will settle into that prize Engen Volkswagen Polo Cup race seat in 2017.
The duo, who came through to the Finals by outpacing the rest of the 16 VW Driver Search qualifiers and eight semi-finalists, will share a Volkswagen Polo with current VW racer Kuda Vuzhare in the Luk Port Elizabeth 3-hour endurance race on 19 November.
They will then race against each other in two identical Polos in the two Superhatch sprint races at Zwartkops a week later, after which the Driver Search Judges will select and confirm the driver they feel best meets the needs and hallmarks of a professional race driver.
Both Rhode and Mogotsi thrived through the program: “I feel incredibly privileged to be part of the Volkswagen Driver Search and I am both excited and humbled to have made through to the top two,” Jonathan Mogotsi, who made his mark in the Granturismo gaming world before racing karts explained. “I’m also really looking forward to racing in Port Elizabeth as it’s uncharted territory for me.”
Ryan Rhode, who has a fair degree of race experience including a stint in a Production Racing Mini, added: “First of all thanks so much to everyone who made this incredible opportunity possible – I truly appreciate it and I am so grateful to have made this far. “I’m also super-excited to have made the Final, because I get to drive a little more and that’s never a bad thing!”
Looking ahead, Rhode is determined to race at top level in 2017. “I believe in goals and focus, so I definitely aim to be in Polo Cup next year and to chasing to be champion there the following season. “I look forward to building a really solid relationship with Volkswagen and to potentially having a stint in GTC one day. “But I also have one eye abroad in Europe, Asia or even America; to chase the dream of becoming a South African Volkswagen Motorsport world champion.”
Mogotsi also has big racing plans on the other side of the Volkswagen Driver Search. “I aim to work my way up the different motorsport tiers such as GTC, some endurance racing and perhaps even drifting as I love mucking about. “My end goal is however to race in the World Endurance Championship and to be a part of a motorsport program that primarily focuses on talent search and driver development.
“The Volkswagen Driver Search experience has been an absolute blast,” Jonathan added. “But I’d have to say that the racing experience at Red Star was the highlight – there’s nothing quite like being on a track to experience all the thrills – including some hairy moments after having brake fade in practice!”
“Just being given the chance to be part of this program is a highlight all on its own,” Rhode concluded. “I am so grateful to have experienced all the lectures and driving activities – its just been a great once in a lifetime experience – thank you so much, Volkswagen South Africa, MSA and all concerned for this incredible opportunity to go all out for my dream.
May the best man win.